There’s no denying our fierce attachment to rugby in general and our mighty All Blacks (current Rugby World Cup holders) in particular. But New Zealanders are open to just about any sport that provides a competitive spectacle.

Rugby league is strong and we have our own professional team (The Warriors) competing in Australia’s NRL competition.

Football is increasingly popular, in fact more people here actually play football than any other sport. We also have team in Australia’s professional competition, the Wellington Phoenix. Our All Whites qualified for the 2012 Olympics and were the only team to bow out unbeaten in the 2010 World Cup. Unfortunately, Mexico beat us for a place at Rio.

More people play football than any other sport in New Zealand.

Netball is the most popular women’s sport, enjoying strong support from grassroots level right up to our world-leading national team, the Silver Ferns.

Men’s basketball is increasingly popular and both men and women enjoy field hockey.

In the warmer months, cricket takes the spotlight - men’s, women’s and the beach variety, a distinctive part of the typical Kiwi summer.

If you’re a golfer you’ll be pleased to know New Zealand has more golf courses per capita than anywhere else in the world. Practically every small town has its own course or links (while cities have several).

Range of sports

Many other sports are catered for year round - touch rugby, tennis, cycling, swimming, horse racing and equestrian, boating, fishing, diving, kayaking and canoeing, windsurfing, kite boarding and motorsport to name just a few.

Not forgetting athletics. New Zealand has produced many world champion runners especially in the longer distances.

The gym on your doorstep

Migrant stories

Lindsey Shaw, Canada

"My favourite outdoor activity is skiing but, since we got here, I have picked up surfing and I love it!

Read Lindsey's story

If you’re serious about sport, it’s so easy to do your training in New Zealand. Our great work-life balance and the outdoors on your doorstep make it so easy to head off for a run at lunch or to get the hours in after work.

More information

Sports in New Zealand are all easily accessible and relatively low cost.

If you're keen to play sport here in New Zealand a great place to start is that sport's governing body. Here are just a few:

Rugby Union








You’ll find a complete list of national sports organisations here:

National sport organisations | Sport New Zealand

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Page last updated: 30/08/2016

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